Coloring has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and foster creativity. Theresa Corbin's upcoming improved coloring book does just that. It also a great dawah effort. Duas requested so that we get it out to you by Eid.
Founder & President of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing
When two people marry each other, it is usually expected to last a life time and as a couple they work together in the good and the bad to prosper this relationship. However not every marriage lasts forever and many times couple part ways. Marriage and divorce are two realities of life. In Muslim communities across the globe, the issue of divorce is quite a stigma and cause of human rights abuses.
In particularly, Muslim women seeking divorce and Khulla (separation) from their spouses face a combination of both societal prejudice and legal issues. Islam teaches Muslims to not opt the way of divorce and work to rebuild the relation between husband and wife. But let me make it clear that Islam doesn’t expect Muslims to put up with any form of violence and abuse within marriages. For this, you should stay tuned for part two of this collab by my fantastic coauthor Papatia.
Subsequently, according to Islamic teachings, the rights for marriage and divorce are the same for both Muslim men and women alike. And in this feature, I will highlight how Islamic communities discriminate and abuse married Muslim women on matters of divorce.
Trend Number 1 is where the infamous and so-called triple talaq or instant divorce threat is quite a commonality among Muslim communities. This blatant misuse of power by which “I divorce thee” is the trump card Muslim men resort to break off marriages instantaneously. Where this trend takes place? It is commonly observed in the different countries of South and East Asia and practiced among British communities of South Asians origins. What happens during triple divorce? When wives do not comply Muslim husbands get rid of them instantly, such women have no claim to alimony though they can collect a small payment for three months after divorce. It is important to let you in on the fact that such sort of triple talaq is not sanctioned in the Quran and Hadith. But men will be men and continue to distort religion to their purpose.
The mere fact is that in almost every Muslim culture, women who are wives and mothers are “self-sacrificing figures, always ready to tolerate their husbands’ mistakes, which can amount to infidelity at times.” And in such societies, men and in-laws are quite okay with getting rid of wives by instant divorce through phone, registered letter and in recent years, via Facebook, skype, whatsapp and yahoo messenger. So easy to be born as a Muslim penis and act like a jerk about it, sighs!
Today, the menace of instant divorce has been banned in more than 20 Muslim countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh but widespread practice continues. Whereas in India and Sri Lanka, this practice is allowed as these State protect religious laws governing Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities’. South Asian feminists and gender advocates continue to fight for abolishing this discriminatory practice. And many women are fed up with what they say is an archaic and patriarchal rule that too often leaves them destitute.
Trend Number 2 is where married women are discriminated against seeking dissolution of their marriage from abusive husbands and in-laws. Most of the times, the girls’ parents out rightly reject helping the married daughters using patriarchal traditions and religion based pressures. Muslim women who have run away from abusive marriages get disowned and killed in many Islamic countries. Any given time, a woman request for arbitration on divorce, these societies see red.
In Pakistan, we cannot forget the killing of Saima Sarwar in broad day light for running away from a bad marriage and seeking divorce to remarry. Her case is cited here, and serves as a chilling reminder that Islamic countries continue to practice anti women traditions and discriminatory laws that hinder Muslim women from getting a divorce.
It is “extremely difficult” for a woman to ask for her right to divorce, not only because Pakistan is “a male-oriented and male-dominated society,” but also because the woman is “psychologically debarred from having access” to the laws governing her right to divorce. But in the case of divorce through khula, the main difficulty would be the attack on her moral character that would come under a cross-examining lawyer’s questions.
For instance, Ameera wanted a divorce because her husband had married again without seeking her consent.
He was also regularly watching porn and then raping her.
He had also given Ameera sexually transmitted infections.
When she contacted the Shariah Council for a divorce, they pressured Ameera into mediation, which she did not want. When she visited the Sharia Council, she was asked very personal questions about her sex life by clerics.
Despite her testimony of rape, Ameera was told that polygamy was allowed and the cleric said, ‘Be patient, you have lasted 22 years, why do you want a divorce now?’
This was the extent of her harrowing mediation.
Finally, Ameera went to another Shariah Council without any help from her family and obtained her divorce.
Trend Number 3 is where Muslim communities discriminate and alienate divorced women and their children, in particularly shaming and name calling brave women who opted out of a bad marriage. Such strong women are viewed with much disdain and mistreated in various ways; their children also pay the price of being told that their mother was in the wrong and assassinate her character.
Women are often blamed for the marriage breakdown and are made to feel guilty for wanting a divorce. Such attitudes have been documented by Moroccan filmmaker, Karima Zoubir whose film “Camera/Women” showcases many harsh stories of separated and divorced women battling the societal stigma. One woman notes, that to be a divorced woman is analogous to prostitute in Moroccan culture while other remarks on the irony that for many women in Islamic Moroccan culture, the wedding is the climax, but they both cynically recognize that the wedding was the beginning of their troubles.
“Very often, Muslims behave in ways very far and contrary to Islamic teachings, during divorce matters. My father never came back to see our face after my parents got divorced, it’s because am a girl. He kept my brother because had no use of a daughter. I live each day with this humiliation and observe how people take shots at my mother,” says Najla*. No amount of pressure and cajoling worked on Najla’s mother because she refused to be mistreated and abused by her husband. In her case, her mother recognized her rights better and being a laureate in commerce with a stable job have ensured that today mother and daughter to lead their lives away from domination and abuse.
Najla muses, on the days when she suffered peer pressure and taunts at school and among friends. Because after all a woman divorces she and her children become public property on which any one can take cheap shots. She refuses to hide in a corner with her head down just because her mother is a divorcee and is the first person to retaliate on people commenting against her hard-working mother.
It’s time that as an Ummah we correct these wrong doings and practices that have nothing to do with Islam and work on improving as Islamic societies where both men and women can enjoy equal rights as sanctioned by Allah The Most Merciful.
Stay tuned for part ii coming soon by my very cooperative and gifted coauthor whom I cannot thank enough for working with me for writing on these crucial issues, JazakAllah Khair!
If we pay close attention to the media of many Muslim dominated countries, we will notice a very disturbing trend. In fact we will see women battered in films; fiction or not. We will also see the femme spectrum being degraded to sex trafficking, used like cheap property and worse, called very degrading names. This is a huge blow to women’s self-esteem. Many start to internalize this constant sentiment toward them as normal. And it’s disappointing. What’s more outraging is the fact that Muslim parents in those dominated Muslim countries will not pause and think, “Wait a minute, we need to censor or monitor this type of behavior in films because it might negatively pave the way our young children, especially young boys look at women.”
The irony is that these same people and parents would click the TV off the minute they catch a hint of romance being displayed in the media. It’s in these moments unfortunately that their haram radar goes up and their parenting mode kicks in. Why not act the same way when the media depicts women in a bad light? Why not do the same thing when the media portrays a woman as trashy because of her choice of clothing and love?
In a film that portrays the rough life and neighborhood of immigrants in London, one scripted dialogue stayed with me. I was very ambivalent about the words uttered which are, ‘A woman that leaves her husband is a bad woman. When she leaves her child behind, she is a bad mother.’
Seriously? Forget about her happiness, she should suck it up in other words. Forget that she is overwhelmed by raising a sick challenging or healthy child alone while being in a marriage. Alhamdullilah for my blessings. I ask God to help me raise a stellar man insha’Allah amiin. But let’s say that I was in a bad marriage and that I was surrounded by narrow-minded people who will not change and are poisoning my son against me no matter what I teach him. Sorry, I would leave your butt behind too. Only Allah really guides people in the end. If he’s meant to find his way and become a better person after I did my part in trying to raise him, insha’Allah he will stay on siratal mustaqim and put women on a pedestal. If he doesn’t become a man who has true taqwa and respect women, then that’s his fate.
Truly, a Muslim woman should be able to divorce when it’s in her rights to do so and when Islamic teaching favors her choice after a rough ride. She should also be taken seriously when her husband no longer wants her. Divorcing wives on a pure whim via social media or even by simply uttering ‘Talaq 3 x’ shows lack of manners and tact. It’s just tacky people. You’re better than that.
To continue, divorcees are people too and the Prophet peace be upon him married several women who were either widowed or divorced. So why are his followers who claim being good Muslims stigmatize this minority of women? Why are these women considered damage goods? Why are they being so marginalized? Oh I have a theory. See, society in general is obsessed with women’s hymens where virgins are only taken seriously. Even a great majority of women themselves have internalized this belief and now think that if their daughters, sisters, mothers, etc. aren’t virgins, they are loose women who can’t be trusted. All this undeserving fuss for a membrane which doesn’t honestly define the character of any women. So what you were the first to be there? You will quickly loose interest and go marry another virgin to try to feel ‘something’. Why chase the ghost of houris in this life? Because that is all this unfair treatment of women stems from.
Many reasonable men will tell you that it’s actually less stress and drama to get with a woman who is not a virgin because of the discomfort and emotional breakdown virgins face they don’t want to deal with.
Now, what have we heard about divorce in Islam from the ummah? If you ask an average Muslim, they will quickly tell you that ‘It’s forbidden and the throne of Allah shakes when there is a divorce.’ As the controversial person that I’m *always* let me say that if you look for a reliable Islamic source that supports these statements, you won’t find it. Apparently, it’s fabricated. While marriage is half the deen, it’s not written anywhere in Islam that marriage is ‘til death do us part.’ This is not Islam. The stories of Barirah and Mughith are examples that our Rasool (sallahu aleihi wassalam) didn’t force anyone to force in marriages they didn’t want to be in. He even said that the best of men are those who are best to their wives. Why not follow these examples?
“And when you divorce women and they have [nearly] fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms or release them according to acceptable terms, and do not keep them, intending harm, to transgress [against them]. And whoever does that has certainly wronged himself. And do not take the verses of Allah in jest. And remember the favor of Allah upon you and what has been revealed to you of the Book and wisdom by which He instructs you. And fear Allah and know that Allah is Knowing of all things.” Quran (2:231)
Having said all that, by experience, and in my opinion, the only reason you would perhaps avoid a divorced person is because of the way they can do things. They tend to have more wisdom than non-married people. And this can become a source of quarrels if both parties don’t sit and talk things through from the get-go. For instance, ‘If I say certain things out of experience in our future marriage, know that it comes from a good place. If you feel like I crossed a line by warning you of something, let me know and I will apologize or back down’ kind of talk. In addition, a divorced person in a new marriage should refrain from saying, ‘I told you so’ when the other party didn’t anticipate the outcome of something. Even though as a divorced person, you’ve been there and done that, let the new married learn from his or her own mistakes because you learned from yours on your own in past marriage(s).
Now, let’s address the issue of domestic violence as mentioned in the Quran. Surah 38 verse 44 states a clear example of Prophet Ayyub who out of anger swore he will correct his wife because she had crossed him. So that he doesn’t lose face, this is what Allah ordered him, “[And finally We told him:] “Now take in thy hand a small bunch of grass, and strike therewith, and thou wilt not break thine oath!” for, verily, We found him full of patience in adversity: how excellent a servant [of Ours], who, behold, would always turn unto Us!”
This was meant to be just a light tap toward his wife and by the same token be taken seriously when he actually didn’t really mean his words of anger after his recovery. Islam is against violence and let us go by a tafsir of this following verse which had been interpreted other ways in the ummah.
“Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.” Quran (4:34)
According to Women In The Quran by Asma Lamrabet, adribuhunna ‘beat them’ or ‘strike them’ comes from a word ‘daraba’. This root daraba has a wide range of meaning in the Quran ranging from cover, give, walk, accompany, turn away from, leave, change, etc. And if we for instance, exchange ‘strike them’ or ‘beat them’ with ‘turn away from them’ or ‘leave them’, we get something revolutionary that supports the non-violent treatment we all know Islam has preached all along but which has been distorted by many. Rasool (sallahu aleihi wassalam) had even left his wives for a period of a month give and take a few days, after they had gravely angered him. He preferred to stay away from them instead of striking them like many interprets of this verse claim should be done to discipline women. Let us all ponder on the aforementioned verses from here.
To end, I’m immensely grateful to my co-author Saadia Haq for working with me on this important collaboration. Jazakh’Allah khair! May we all benefit from it in this life and the next, ameen.
Part I’s references:
Note: ‘The Written vs. NOT Written Stuff’ is a copyrighted collaborative feature series bringing forward attention towards serious issues within the global Muslim communities. It’s a joint initiative of two Muslimah writers, Papatia Feuxzar of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Saadia Haq of The Human Lens. As always we would love to hear your feedback, here at wordpress or through email which ever medium works for you. Copyrights @2015 – 2017
Part I, Written by Saadia Haq of The Human Lens
When I first heard of this, I was like numb for seconds until my good friend from Sindhi community proceeded to narrate how young women in her family are married off to Holy Quran under the tradition “Haq E Bakshish.” Pakistani women aren’t new to cruelty whether it comes in guide of religion or tradition but this manner of creating Muslim nuns is totally unIslamic and inhuman. Do realize that what I was told is supposedly a taboo topic but one that has recently been creating controversy within the country.
This conversation came full circle years later, as I flew to Multan also called “The City of Saints” for investigating honor crime stories. Here I met Shaista Bukhari, a young widow that runs a regional women rights organization. While we were chatting on her work on honor crimes, Shaista spoke of her blood cousin that was married to the Quran and on spot I decided to record this case study.
Shaista’s young female cousin was barely 19-year-old victim of this tradition because the elders wanted to deprive her share in family property. Shaista said, “It’s like a normal wedding, with feasts and festivities, minus the groom. The woman is dressed up as a bride and guests are invited, for the day. The family announces that their daughter is very pious and marrying her to the Quran will bring more blessings to the family. Then the bride in front of everyone present is asked to dedicate herself to memorizing the Holy Quran and places her hand on Holy Quran while taking the oath that she’s married to it until her death.
This woman is obviously pressurized to undergo such a custom. She is forcefully made to stay in a sort of hijab where she is locked indoors, act pious and morally well and nothing that could be against Islamic teachings.” Further more I asked what happens in future to the women that were married in this way and Shaista minced no words in stating, “The victim can never dress in bright-colored clothes or leave the house, she stays indoors and cannot attend family events. At the most she is allowed to do the ‘Hajj’ (pilgrimage) with a brother or blood relative.
I have seen with my eyes, how such woman becomes psychologically ill, you see these type of weddings are done at an early age of sixteen to eighteen, as soon as the girl comes of marriageable age. Since they are so young they start believing in what the elders say that it is sinful to even to talk to anyone outside the family and other ridiculous ideas.”
Such notions that are conjured up in name of religion aren’t new, this reminds of the expression “Bride of Christ” or the phenomena of married to the Church. Violence against women is not confined to poor and illiterate families only as this bizarre trend’s noted among the rich and feudal Syed families who claim direct descent from the Prophet Muhammad. It was first devised to deny women their rights of inheritance and out of fear of property being passed on to outsiders through the daughters or sisters i.e. their spouses or children. Also, like many other ethnicities in Pakistan Syed families are often reluctant to allow women to marry into non-Syed families, in a kind of caste system that sees non Syed families as being lower in status.
It is important to note that two things play an important role in keeping this custom alive, acceptance of such attitudes and feudalism for perpetuating belief systems having no validity in Islam. In part two, my co-author Papatia Feuxzar will bring forward Quran and Islamic Hadith references that highlight how Islam is not sanctioning such type of marriages and nunnery in an Islamic society.
There is no consensus in the opinions of historians that differ over the roots of this phenomenon but we note that it’s quite a prevalent practice going on behind “closed doors” in secrecy and impunity. Independent sources state that annually, some 10,000 girls are married to the Quran in Pakistan but since the victims are kept in house-confinement beyond any social interaction they cannot report or voice the injustice. The Holy Women as they are called are married with Holy Quran and therefore cannot have a normal relationship with a man or marry.
Moreover, local men fear being cursed if they have a relationship with a woman who is married to the Quran. In 2011, the topic made sensation as a young couple held a press conference, asking for state protection because the young girl being forced to marry the Holy Book, had fled with a boy of her choice and gotten married in the court. They were receiving many death threats and the family was urging the boy to return the girl. There are no updates as what was the fate of this couple since then.
Former President Pervez Musharaf has time and again spoken strongly against this phenomenon within Pakistani society and argued for proper laws for penalizing the custom which deprives women of their basic human rights. But there are other parliamentarians that openly support this autocracy, some whose own sisters are victims of this crime and kept hidden from public eye. Previously I have written on my blog on the topic, if you missed it go here.
Pakistan has made progress in women friendly laws in recent decade and under the most latest legislation, the Haq Bakshish tradition is punishable by a seven-year prison sentence, but very few cases get reported due to fear posed by influential feudal power structures. But never-the-less, Pakistani law has already criminalized haq bakshish with a seven-year prison sentence and fine for its offenders. Addtionally, the advisory religious body Council of Islamic Ideology ( CII) has outlawed the heinous practice of marrying women to the Quran, declaring it unIslamic. It stated that Muslim men and women are obliged to order their lives, individually and collectively, in accordance with the injunctions of Islam.
From a human rights frame-work, here we are speaking of two violations – one is forced marriages and secondly inheritance deprivation that adversely affect women’s situation. Due to the inability to reach out to victims of this crime, very few stories actually get reported in the media. However some positive developments are observed; Pakistani film-maker Syed Noor’s Punjabi movie “Mehndi Waley Hath” (hands with henna) that showed how a family forced their daughter to marry the Quran to get away with her share of financial assets left in her father’s will. The film did extremely well at the local box and was also nominated for 16 awards, for highlighting this sensitive social issue.
Another instance, in 2001, when Pakistani novelist Qasira Shahraz wrote “The Holy Woman” where its heroine Shahzadi Ibadat becomes the sole heiress in advent of her brother’s death. Her fate is to sustain the family’s wealth and thus a Holy Woman is created to be married off to Quran by her father – the feudal lord. The author has brilliantly captured the importance of Pakistani traditions and the realistic view of how men always have an upper hand. Islamic fairness is intertwined in the female character’s life and the fact that Islam actually liberates women which otherwise fell prey to such outdated customs.
While researching the story I spoke with many people whom were not aware of the gravity of Quran marriage menace in our society. But despite the lack of knowledge, most communities including men and women fiercely oppose this practice.
In Pakistan, the matters of property, inheritance and asset management are usually under men’s control. And the widespread patriarchal customs do not allow a possibility for women to exerting their inheritance rights as a daughter or wife. A vast majority of Pakistani women do not have any say when it comes to their inheritance rights and here we have this horrible custom taking place where families under the guise of religion are marrying their girls to the Holy Quran. Greed and male domination are two major forces that make such families justify their crimes.
But such marriages have no value in the eyes of Allah and the religion of Islam. Both Quran and Islamic institution of marriage have given Muslim women the rights in inheritance and the rights to marry but greedy relatives and family members see that family’s wealth stays in the hands of men. In Pakistan, we renew our pledge to continue raising our voice on violence against women and abolishing of archaic customs such as Haq e Bakshish that deprive women of their rights and destroy it. #Not in the name of any religion, please.
Part two on Islamic perspective on this by Papatia Feuxzar, coming soon!
Part II Written by Papatia Feauxzar of Hayati Magazine
You learn something new every day. The practice of “Haq E Bakshish” was new to me, and I had to check with my relatives, the elders, to see if they had heard of it before. And they hadn’t. There is no other way to say it; the practice of marrying women to the Quran Karim or other objects is UNISLAMIC! The scriptures are clear about what’s expected of us in this life; five before five.
“Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death”— Prophet Muhammad sallallahu aleihi wassalam. (Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)
How can a woman married to an object, a tree, a small boy, an old man, or the Quran Karim for that matter by greedy and patriarch men take advantage of these given? She can’t! That’s cruelty. I’m not saying that memorizing the holy Book is a torture but agreeing to dedicate one’s life or your child’s life to only one aspect of the deen is just bunkers! It’s not healthy and it’s definitely not a balanced way of life. A thing Islam preaches about. Excesses are not Islamic. The right balance in all things is what’s demanded of the mu’min.
What do these folklore followers seek to accomplish? They want the assets of the family to stay within the greedy hands of the family heads so that the victims don’t seek their dutiful and rightful shares out of the overall inheritance. The cases from Saadia’s part show us that this inhumane practice is going on and therefore collectively we are raising our voice against this heinous practice.
Oh yea, let’s see what the scripture say about the politics of inheritance. The default source is:
“Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females. But if there are [only] daughters, two or more, for them is two-thirds of one’s estate. And if there is only one, for her is half. And for one’s parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. But if he had no children and the parents [alone] inherit from him, then for his mother is one-third. And if he had brothers [or sisters], for his mother is a sixth, after any bequest he [may have] made or debt. Your parents or your children – you know not which of them are nearest to you in benefit. [These shares are] an obligation [imposed] by Allah . Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.” (Surah 4 Verse 11)
Let me remind those who don’t know that this not the ultimate rule when dividing inheritances. This verse came down for a very specific instance and all cases aren’t the same. They have been many historical cases where a female earned the same if not more than her male counterpart; thirty documented cases to be exact. (Women in the Qur’an, Pg. 149 & Salah ad-Din Sultan) They could have been many more we don’t know about.
So why do many people not mention those instances when dealing inheritance? Go figure but I have a few possibilities in mind. They might know that the woman they are marrying off to non-human things is a worth a lot of money or assets. By that I mean, she is entitled to more than half a share of a male. Therefore, to avoid disbursing these assets to her, the rightful owner, they nip it at the bud and deny her happiness because she could marry an outsider who could consequentially oversee her fortune and cut them off.
AmI speculating? Maybe. But think about it. Why deny a woman her rightful inheritance besides wanting to control the source of the fortune and trying to keep blood lines pure? Please ponder on it.
Now, let’s talk about blood lines I mentioned just above. I tell you, there is nothing more absurd than that. If we call ourselves Muslims, we believe that we are all descendants of Adam and Awa (aleihi salam). We also believe that an Arab is not superior than a non-Arab and vice-versa. Finally, we believe that a black is not superior than a white and vice versa.
With that being said, why try to UNISLAMICALLY keep marital bonds between families of the same lineage to preserve a specific bloodline when we are all brothers and sisters when you think about it. It makes no sense to me.
I’m waiting for the day where someone will say, “I’m a descendant of Adam and Eve (aleihi salam) and you are too. We’re special MARTIANAllah, istikhara looks good, SUPERhanallah! Let’s have nikah!”
It will be equally funny to me if someone came out and said, “I’m a descendant of the first humans; Adam and Eve (aleihi salam). You’re Martian? MartianAllah, but I only marry terrestrial. Sorry.”
On a more serious note, I urge you to report these illegal and clandestine marriages because you will be asked about that on judgement day. Do not be an accomplice by letting your relative be married this way. It’s against Islam. Please speak up! Why? It’s cultural baggage. It’s not the real Islam.
Note: ‘The Written vs. NOT Written Stuff’ is a copyrighted collaborative feature series bringing forward attention towards serious issues within the global Muslim communities. It’s a joint initiative of two Muslimah writers, Papatia Feuxzar of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Saadia Haq of The Human Lens. As always we would love to hear your feedback, here at wordpress or through email which ever medium works for you. Copyrights @2015 – 2016
Part I, Written By Saadia Haq Of The Human Lens
Women were the first pioneers of Islam – without whom the history of this Muslim Ummah wouldn’t be what it is today. For if they weren’t there; the Muslim men would not have been able to achieve the feats they did and Muslim societies would have no examples, no role models to follow. What I am going to tell you about the role of women in Islam in the next ten minutes or so is going to change your opinion of the most misinterpreted religion Islam or at least I aspire to.
When Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) started receiving his first revelation from Angel Gabriel or as we say; Jibril, among his first believers were various women. In-fact the first person to accept Islam through Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was a woman – his first wife Khadijah ale salam also known as “Mother of the Believers.” She accepted the faith and supported the Messenger of Allah SWT in the earliest period of trials and persecution he faced.
Being the wife of Muhammad was one of the many aspects of Khadijah ale salam – for she was a well established and powerful businesswoman. In her we find the ultimate and perfect example of a strong Muslim woman with an equally powerful career. She wasn’t afraid to pursue her interests in business, capitalize upon excellent opportunities, and invest her wealth in the worthy cause she and her husband believed in. Following her, amongst the other first believers in Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa salam) and his message were women of his own household; his daughters Zainab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, and Fatimah. All these women are worthy of particular mention in their own right for their participation in laying the stones for a newly born Islamic society.
I am proud to be part of an Islamic Ummah full of powerful women and through them I can set right those who argue Islam is anti-women and doesn’t believe in equality like the western world does. In part ii, coming soon, my co-author will digress particularly on various aspects and roles of women within the Islamic societies with specific references from the Quran and Sunnah. For now, today I will take you on a virtual journey with me to meet several young Muslim personalities in other words, woman of power.
Islam’s First Female Muslim Teacher – the illustrious Al Shifa whose real name Shifa bint Abdullah bin Abd Shams bin Khalaf bin Shadad al-Qurashiyah al-Adawiyah was literate and skilled in medicine during the Jihalah times. Al Shifa holds a strong presence in early Muslim history, she embraced Islam before the Hijrah, by boldly taking the pledge or Bayah to the Messenger, declaring loyalty to him before witnesses at a time, when it was most dangerous thing to do. She migrated from Makkah to Medina where she sought Prophet’s blessing to make use of her skills for the betterment of the new Muslim society. She approached the Prophet and said, “Oh Messenger of Allah, I used to do preventative medicine for antbites during Jahiliyyah, and I want to demonstrate it for you.”
He said, “Demonstrate it.” Al-Shifa reports, “So I demonstrated it for him, and he said “Why don’t you teach this one [indicating Hafsah] the preventative medicine against ant bites, just as you taught her how to write? And the mother of the believers Hafsah Bint Umar ale salam learned with her new teacher Al Shifa. At the personal request of the Prophet, Al Shifa continued to practice her medicinal work, healing Muslims community of sicknesses and teaching preventive medication. Along with this she continued teaching Muslim women how to read and write thus earning the position of first female teacher in Islam.
The Prophet’s wisdom is encouraging a capable woman such as Al Shifa brought fruits beyond imagination. Along with her medicine and teaching, Al Shifa attended mosque to become a great scholar in her own right. She impressed Caliph Umar who appointed her as a market controller in Medina, point to be noted is in 7th century Islamic society started off with women’s active role in public spheres women. Following her success, Caliph Umar replicated the same in Mecca where he appointed another woman; Samra bint Nuhayk. In contrast to the perceived ideas of Islamic world, such moves show that there were women shopkeepers and women shoppers in early Islamic society. For if the market place been largely a man’s place, these women would face challenges in their duties as controller yet neither Al-Shifa nor Samra’ encountered such difficulties. Later on Al Shifa was appointed as the head of health and safety in Basra and she continued to serve the Islamic society till her last days.
The next treasure of Islam is a special female hero of Islam whom I completely adore and look up to. Nusaybah bint Ka’ab. A true warrior, personal bodyguard and women right advocate who is one of the few female companions of Prophet that physically fought in battle in the defense of Messenger of Allah (SWT). After taking the pledge to become Muslim, this mighty woman took place in numerous major events including The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, Battle of Uhud, Battle of Hunayn, Battle of Khaybar, and Battle of Yamamah.
The Quran records, when the Battle of Uhud turned into defeat due to Muslims disobeying the command of Muhammad, Nusaybah went forward with her sword unsheathed and her bow in her hand, to join the small group who were standing firm with the Prophet, acting as a human shield to protect him from the arrows of the non-believers. In her praise, the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad said, “Wherever I turned, left or right, on the Day of Uhud — I saw her fighting for me.” Near the end she was inflicted with 13 wounds but didn’t run away from the battle ground rightfully so earning herself the title of “The Shield of Muhammad at Uhud.”
Her courage on the battle ground doesn’t yet define Nusaybah bint Ka’ab for she was a loving wife and strong mother. She fought actively as an advocate for Muslim women, once she asked the Messenger of Allah SWT as why the Quran only mentioned men and not women? Soon thereafter, Ayat 35 of Surah Al’Ahzab was revealed.
Her actions further teach Muslim women to learn self-defense skills as opposed to waiting for any rescue from some knight in shining armor. They also show the inherent core of Islam that doesn’t discriminate between the sexes. Her valuable services to Islam received praise and were rewarded by Allah SWT and his Messenger alike.
In times, when women were considered inferior, Nusaybah R.A’s active participation in community treaties and battles show that Islam encourages both women and men to play their roles for a just Islamic society. Yet, today’s Muslim communities and countries are plagued with many discriminatory traditions against women; don’t you feel its time for us sisters to take some lessons from our own true hero the possessor of ambition, courage, loyalty and empowerment. Say yes to Muslimah power and just bring out your Nusaybah bint Ka’ab, now.
Women of Islam. What can I tell you about these strong pillars who were and are the cornerstone of faith and divine grace. For a start, they are indeed a multitude and start at the very beginning with Eve (Awa aleihi salam) our first mother who if you read the transliteration of the Quran wasn’t accused of leading Adam (aleihi salam) to doom. It was their unanimous decision to listen to the whispers. But this is where the blaming game was inferred. Women aren’t evil temptresses. Both men and women have the ability to seduce and tempt! To prove this, the holy verses say :
“But Satan caused them BOTH to stumble therein, and thus brought about the loss of their erstwhile state. And so We said: “Down with you, [and be henceforth] enemies unto one another; and on earth you shall have your abode and your livelihood for a while.” (Quran 2 :36)
They repented and Allah made them vicegerents of earth. They ruled it peacefully until their time was up. Now speaking of peace, Bilqis (Queen of Sheba) comes to mind. She is considered a valiant governor and a democratic Queen. We know her story from surah 27 of the Quran. King Solomon sent messengers her way to announce the message of Islam (Submitting to One God). As the diplomatic ruler that she was, she consulted her advisers first.
“She said, “O eminent ones, advise me in my affair. I would not decide a matter until you witness [for] me.” ” (Quran 27: 32)
“They said, “We are men of strength and of great military might, but the command is yours, so see what you will command.” ” (Quran 27: 33)
The advisers implied that they were ready to fight off the Prophet of Allah because they had the means of their politics but she was wise not to go that route.
Since the final decision rested upon her, Bilqis decided to test King Solomon with a gift from Dunya. She wanted to know if he was after this materialistic world or if his cause was truly above that. Long story short, Bilqis (Barakissa in certain languages) and Solomon saw eye to eye and got married. In fact, Solomon was quite infatuated with her!
The hadith “Never will succeed such a nation as lets their affairs carried out by a woman.” was uttered in a very specific and isolated case about a treacherous nation (Neo-Persian Empire) whose tyrant ruler died and his daughter took over doing the same thing he was doing. The success of Balqis, the former idol worshiper, who converted to Islam after the presence of Allah was made evident to her goes against the fact that this hadith was meant as a general rule of thumb like many religious clerics and some Muslim men make it sound like. Who do you think counselled great kings and men behind closed doors when no one was/is at ear shots? Women of great morals of course! In my opinion, if a nation doesn’t do well because its ruler is a woman it’s probably because the men surrounding her don’t have her back, give her the evil eye, or perhaps undermine her authority because they can’t seem to get acquainted with the idea that a woman is above them. Plain and simple. Idiosyncrasy when a woman gives birth to you…
To continue with another Muslim woman, how about Mary (Maryam aleihi salam) mother of Jesus (Issa alehi salam) ? She was a spiritual woman whose mother (Hanna) prayed that she only become a servant of Allah in a time where only boys were allowed to become monks. Her name actually means just that too. She was so close to Allah that her name is mentioned in the Quran masha’Allah and the law changed because of her and she entered in the service of Allah when she reached the age. Even back then, gender disparities were present. The other great women of Islam aren’t mentioned in the Quran by name but their stories are still known by His might.
Hanna, mother of Maryam aleihi salam was also very religious. She made immeasurable prayers to have a pious boy devoted to the service of Allah. But Allah had a plan and gave her a girl instead to make groundbreaking changes in regard to gender discrimination! So always pray for your children and the sake of the ummah as it is Allah only that guides people and fix all our affairs!
“[Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of ‘Imran said, “My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” (Quran 2: 35)”
“But when she delivered her, she said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, “And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah ].” (Quran 2: 36)”. See, women are just as capable of doing what men do and the real Islam doesn’t preach discrimination between the sexes.
Feeling like many of the early verses revealed always addressed men or were perhaps vague for her, Umm Salama (aka Hind bint Abi Umayya) spoke up about her concern to her husband Rasullulah sallallahu aleihi wasasalam. Then the same day by Zhur prayer, Surah 33 verse 35 was revealed. How special would you feel when a verse is addressed to you just because you spoke up? I bet fabulous will be the word! So speak up about what bothers you and bring about a change! Surah 3 Verse 195 was also revealed under the same circumstances of brave women demanding inclusion and recognition for their tireless efforts in spreading the message of Islam under the harsh times the Ummah faced at the time.
And in the time of Rasullulah sallallahu aleihi wasasalam, there were such ‘things’ called mubayiat (the involvement of women in politics) and shura (consultation between the head and the constituents of the community). Women participated in many events in the communities notably the bayat annisa. Umm Umarah aka Nusayba bin’t Ka’b mentioned in part I was actually in one of the stages of the bayat al-Aqaba. She was what you call a true warrior never falling short of her duty and allegiance to protect the Prophet Rasullulah sallallahu aleihi wasasalam. She lived the life of a bodyguard for him.
With all that being said and as you might suspect, anything related to women evolving has to be stopped, reduced, hidden, and diminished by closed-minded people. Many women entered Islam and pledged allegiance to the Prophet sallallahu aleihi wasasalam because non-believing Arabs at the time didn’t treat women well. Here is a religion that put women on a pedestal, what do you think I would do in those times? I would join to and surah 60 verse 12 was revealed to protect these enlighted and chosen women to siratal mustaqeem. However, this women’s revolution was cut short when our beloved Prophet sallallahu aleihi wasasalam died and many of his successors went retrograde. Women were pushed back to the sidelines and dismissed from social and political involvement. A women revolution is on its way and nothing will stop it because it was written long ago.
In conclusion here, without women society will collapse. Without men, it’ll collapse too. So give us credit where it is due and see us not as handicapped and invaluable.
Note: ‘The Written vs. NOT Written Stuff’ is a copyrighted collaborative feature series bringing forward attention towards serious issues within the global Muslim communities. This is a joint initiative of two Muslimah writers, Papatia Feuxzar of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Saadia Haq of The Human Lens. We will be pleased to hear your feedback, here at wordpress or through email which ever medium works for you. Copyrights @2015 – 2016
As a working mother, as soon as I log off/get off work (it depends of if I work from home) I have a second job to attend; Mommy and wife duties.
And having Ramadhan when days are longer has its advantages for me.
1. Time to catch up with house chores
I have time to do house chores before the hubby comes home. From 5:30 p.m. toiftar time, I have roughly a little over three hours to cook, clean, and tend to the baby needs. If we still have leftovers from a previous day, I only have to step in the kitchen thirty to an hour before iftar to warm the food and set the table (I don’t use the microwave). If we ate everything from the previous days, it takes me an hour to two to bring the house down. Then Chef Papatia feels awesome that the ‘five course meal’ (soup, salad, entrée, side dish, and dessert) is ready.
2. Time to relax
Now, I have an hour plus to spare. If I haven’t performed asr yet, I do it then. I make sure I pray at least forty-five minutes before magrib time. Wouldn’t want to pray asr during forbidden times to pray, do we? After that I sit down and relax before the next wave of things to-do show up such as setting up the table.
3. Time to perform late night prayers
When I’m done eating, praying magrib, winding down in front of the TV, it’s close to midnight. This is perfect because the second half of the night is close and Allah is even nearer to us. So, I pray taraweeh and qiyaam no matter how difficult this is, taking comfort in the fact that I can pour my heart out to my creator. Masha’Allah.
By the time, Ramadhan circles back to winter when days are shorter, I would probably be retired and sending off a kid to college insha’Allah *wink* How about you guys? How are the long hours working for you?
May Allah facilitates Ramadhan to all you working mothers and non-working mothers,ameen.
Ramadhan Mubarak dear readers! Alhamdullilah, it’s Ramadhan 1st 1437 or Ramadhan 2016. May Allah make this month easy on us, amiin. May He accept our fast and all our acts of Ibadat, amiin. May He make us better Muslims here on out, amiin. And May He allow us to see many more holy months like this one insha’Allah, amiin. May Allah protect the ummah and guide us all on sirat-al mustakeem, amiin.
Original post on Hayati Magazine .
1. Amina N. Her debut story is titled Destiny and addresses domestic violence and love in our ummah. Amina N. is a Muslim woman who lives in Roswell Georgia. Although she resided most of her life away from her birth country, Senegal, she kept within her all the great values from her culture which she was taught while growing in the welcoming city of Dakar. She always loved reading and writing, loves taking care of animals and watch them interact with each other. Being a very spiritual person, she enjoys spending time alone and long moments of silence; she yet would not trade spending time with her daughter, friends and family for anything. For more information visit www.amina-n.com
2. Farida Ado. She is a Nigerian romance writer. Early this year, a post featuring her went viral. Farida appears here as well. She’s also mentioned in other articles like this one. She writes in Hausa like many Nigerian Novelists. Her work has been translated inDiagram of the Heart which brings us next to one of the early writer of the movement in Northern Nigeria.
3. Balaraba Ramat Yakubu is considered one of the 1980s breakout writer in the romance genre in Kano, Nigeria. Her most acclaimed work is Alhaki Kuykuyo Ne…, Sin is a Puppy That Follows You Home. She is an inspiring person.
4. Author Fauziyyah B Suleiman . She has written 32 novels and three were made into local movies like one of her bestseller A Daren Farko (On the First Night). In this article, she says, “In my writing I give more attention to women’s issues, like marriage, polygamy and education.” She is what a fellow author call a warrior with a pen.
5. Papatia Feauxzar. Originally from French West Africa, Papatia lives in Dallas, Texas with her nuclear family. She loves nature and also loves to pen romance stories for adults and sci-fi/fantasy ones for the underage folks. She aims to address faith, love, romance, education, gender issues, and many other social ills close to her heart with her writing. Her most known work is Mistress of the Spices. You can learn more on her at www.djarabikitabs.com
Though I have some discussions with family members who still use amulets, I have to confess that I have used nazar for instance in the past. I have mixed feelings about it and I’ll tell you both reasons.
The first reason why I used it in the past is because I always thought it never possessed any kind of power. Ayatul Kursi, now that’s power. For me, nazar is like a deflecting object. A distraction to the person with the potential evil eye. For instance, if a person sees something they like on you and then they caught a glimpse of nazar on you, I have seen their attention go to the amulet. They quickly forget the thing they admired on you. They’ll focus their attention on that weird eye, lol. You know how you can deflect light with a mirror? Ok, this is how I saw nazar.
Now the reason I have mixed feelings about it is the other part of my dilemma. It’s an amulet and the scripture is clear on them. It’s shirk. Whether your intention for using it counts, only Allah is the judge of that. Besides, what protects you when you announce good news online. No one sees you. Nazar certainly won’t. Only Allah will if you pray for protection.
Read more here.
Jazak’Allah khair for reading,
Here is a touchy subject around the globe ... Can a Muslim woman wear pants or only dresses and skirts?
Well it depends on many things. Personally, I don’t wear pants outside the comfort of my home. I used to wear them outside but these days, I am so used to wear skirts and dresses that I feel very awkward wearing pants to go outside. I just feel naked if I try to put a foot outside the door, so I just don’t. But I do wear pants under clothing when Winter hits so that I don’t get cold.
So can she wear it? She can wear pants if it’s part of her culture and the dress on top is long enough to cover her behind. Assuming that her clothes are not too tight and are loose. That said, some scholars will argue that she can’t under any circumstances. I think they exaggerate. I don’t like un-flexible point of views..borderline extreme… They based their argument on the hadith sherif that states that women that dress in men clothing are cursed and vice-versa. I think we know this wasn’t meant for women that wear pants conservatively but for men that have women mannerisms and clothe in women clothing and vice-versa.
A lot of them won’t hear this rebuttal of their thesis because there is also a cultural belief lurking in their minds; a woman who wear pants will become the leader of the family. ‘Nonsense.’ *wink*
In addition, they will agree that she wears pants privately where noone can see except them. Whether she hides it from people or not, she still wears them so how come she is not leading the home according to ‘your standards’? Ah, she leads the family anyways. She is just discrete about it and lets you believe you’re in charge... She is the moon and you’re the sun. *wink*
I can’t recall all the details of the story I am about to tell you but I read somewhere that a lady was near the prophet (sallalahu aleihi wasalam) and she fell. I think she was on a horse. Maybe a donkey. He turned his head so that he couldn’t see her privates. Later, his companions around him told him that they didn’t see anything because she wore pants under her clothing. He then prayed for her and any woman who does the same to protect her privates. See, women can wear pants! Having said that, it is not said that it’s compulsory to hide your pants. It’s just preferable and it has more barakah (blessings).
What do you think of women wearing pants? Please share your thoughts!
Originally posted here .
Riding the Samoosa Express is a metaphor to refer to the process of courtship, love, marriage and beyond. It’s a well written tale sampling the diversity and the different faces the Indian Muslim women contributors experienced.
These personal narratives range from very funny tales like Farhana Ismail’s father’sizzat (honor) demands and Somayya Hansrod’s mishaps in the kitchen to soul searching and self actualization stories such as the ones of Yasmin Denat and many other anonymous and non-anonymous contributors.
A very thought provocative compilation,Riding the Samoosa Express tell us that what may be true for one Muslim woman is not necessarily true or the norm for another Muslim woman. Each Muslim woman has a different life and a different culture. So some of these stories mirror the lives of other Muslim women around the globe while many don’t.
Many of the stories spoke to me. For instance, I felt the struggles of Zaheera Jina when she wished to be ‘Only Oomi’ to her son while battling a PhD career in Mathematics. Another story that spoke to me is the one of Nabeela Patel because of her open mind and religious tolerance of other faiths. I enjoyed her critical mind and the way she ended her piece:
“First, I need to blossom into a flower from a bud and settle into my own life. In this big, bad world I don’t know where I’ll end up, or who I will be, but I need to find that out first. I need to fathom the complex me, settle into my skin and breathe…”
She used the right words to seal the deal with me.
In conclusion, Riding the Samoosa Express is a must and a good read!
Originally published at www.papatia.wordpress.com .